Family, New Motherhood, Working Moms

How to Enjoy Your Mornings, Working Moms

This was me and my little guy yesterday morning. See, we have this little routine. When I see him stirring on the video monitor, Greg and I go into his room and pick him up. He sees us and instantly starts beaming, as if to say, “You came back for me!” It truly is one of the highlights of my day. But I sort of forgot about how wonderful it is.

I started waking up just a half an hour earlier, 5:30 a.m. And just by doing that, I started to notice things. Like how happy I am for that first cup of coffee, or how I love listening to the news when it’s still quiet. I forgot how much I love to go into my little man’s room and see his beaming face, so happy that his parents are with him.

In the craziness of life, we prioritize a lot of things that just aren’t important. We chase people, jobs, relationships, goals, many of which aren’t really put in our hearts. So instead of loading up your schedule with all of the things that aren’t the most important to you, maybe we all take a “grown-up time out.”

During my “time out” I noticed that I had a bunch of different choices laid out before me. As I looked at them I thought, which one do I feel led to do? Which one leads me closer to my talents, my calling? When we get super quiet and away from the noise, we start to see things more clearly.

I’m not going to forget how awesome it is to hug my little guy in the morning. Many times that work outfit gets buggers and turd on it and I need to change. Instead of being frustrated, I try and remember his smile. Because it won’t last. One day he’ll be dreading me waking him up and not smiling in fleece footie pajamas. And I don’t want that part to end.

Treasure the simpleness in your mornings, working moms. There’s so much toughness but there’s so much beauty too if we’ll only take the time to look.

Enjoy it.

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Family, Mom Guilt

The Guilt of Having the “Perfect Number” of Children

Story Time Mamas…

I’m going to get real with you. One thing that I have a really hard time with, is the pressure and internal guilt of “how many kids” is the ideal family? I have friends who stopped at one and decided they were done and others that are on their third child. And internally, my mind goes nuts.

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I absolutely adore my little guy. He’s super social, he laughs, he farts — it’s all adorable. But there was also: teething, sleep-training, colds, and the many diapers in my garbage. It’s a beautiful mess.

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As much as I love my son, and I’m thankful he’s here and wouldn’t trade a thing, I also recognize my own needs. The need to explore, accomplish, and to be out in the world. And sometimes that makes me feel guilty. Guilty I don’t want to stay at home. Guilty I don’t really want to have more kids. Guilty he won’t have a sibling. Guilty I’m not as much of a mom as the moms who have minivans with children.

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And maybe this is you too? And maybe we all need to stop that. Stop feeling guilty that we aren’t someone else and embrace who we are and what our needs are.

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I’m not the minivan mom, but that doesn’t make me a “bad mom”, it makes me the mom that Chase needs. And you’re the mom that your child or children need.

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Stop the guilt. Stop the comparing. You’re the mom you’re meant to be and you’re GREAT.

#stopmomguiilt #momshame #momsohard #momlife

Family, Growth, New Motherhood

For the Mom Who Misses Her Freedom

I sat in the nursery, looking at the blank walls and the sleeping baby in the crib. I saw all the mess on the floor from clothes tags that had been ripped in a hurry, to an empty formula bottle. And I sat on the rocker in a state of complete exhaustion.

As I sat there, I looked at my precious boy in the crib, in his napper. He was swaddled sweetly, sleep peacefully, breathing to a hypnotic rhythm. All the beauty around me, a beautiful mess, if  you will, and I felt horrible. IMG_1340

I wouldn’t call it post-par tum depression. I wouldn’t call it baby blues. But it was this deep and knowing feeling that my life, as I knew it, was over. It was the death of the old me, very much like marriage, and the birth of something new, a new life.

In that moment, that moment of feeling upset about all the changes, I felt guilty too. Shouldn’t I be so in awe of my baby that it doesn’t matter? Shouldn’t I be so in love with him and our new life that I’m overwhelmed with happiness? The thoughts of how I should have felt caused me to feel guilty.

Sitting there, I’d think about how my life was now reduced to feeding and nap schedules. I couldn’t just go on a date with my spouse without having a sitter lined up. I couldn’t just get in the car and get groceries without carrying what seemed like 10 million bags and bottles. The simple ways that my life had changed began to suffocate me, as this realization dawned on me all at once.

I think it’s fair to say that when you’re expecting, you’re super excited and maybe a little anxious. Everyone tells you to enjoy it, and how quickly it’ll all pass away. But no one really preps you for the insane amount of change that will hit you. all. at. once.

Once the epidural of the “in love” baby phase wears away, and the sleep-deprived coma sets in, don’t be shocked to hear yourself say, “What have I done?”.

And moms, it’s okay to feel that way. I’d venture to guess we have all thought or said the same thing. It’s totally normal, and it will wear off, just like the “in love” baby phase. There’s so many great adventures waiting you and your baby, and it’s healthy to allow yourself to feel upset or disappointed from time to time. Sometimes phoning a fellow mom friend or getting out for a girls day can really help. But don’t allow yourself to think what you’re feeling is wrong or selfish. It’s all changing and all normal.

For more articles like this click here: —->http://eepurl.com/c8NEOb

Family, Persevere

The Hardest Year

All in the course of a couple of months:

  • We had just gone through job transitions
  • Moved
  • Had a horrible miscarriage
  • Found out we were expecting

All sorts of different life events, good and bad hitting us all at once. I knew I felt isolated being an hour away from my family but somehow we felt there was a reason for it. Day by day, nothing made sense. We tried to figure out why things were going so off kilter but nothing added up. I remember how hard it was just trying to survive during this time, how it felt like survival mode would never end. The feeling of constantly focusing on bills, cleaning, and doctor bills.

Just as things started to look up — Greg started to convulse one night. He twitched and moved on the couch in such an erratic way that it looked like a gran mal seizure. We rushed him to the hospital and he was checked into the trauma unit — Lyme carditis. After almost losing my spouse, and being 33 weeks pregnant, I felt myself losing some sense of joy and sensibility. I don’t know if you’ve gone through something that knocked the wind out of you, but that’s where I was at.

I remember sleeping on the floor of the hospital and wondering what would happen next –to all of us.

Greg made it out of the Lyme well, and Chase was born. It was an emergency birth and it was difficult. It was the year that yielded some of the greatest blessings and the greatest challenges.

Hoping for Greg to get called back to work quickly, months passed by. Construction season wasn’t moving as it should, but the medical bills didn’t stop, and my benefits and pay weren’t great for a growing family. So back to the interviews I went at 3 months post-par tum. I had borrowed some suits from a family friend because I wasn’t completely deflated yet. But I pounded the pavement. I’m not sure where I got that strength from if not from God. The year had worn me out. I went to counseling, I prayed, and I cried.

But I say all that, not as a pity party or self-indulgence. But mama’s, ladies, you’ve been through stuff and I know you have. I’ve talked with you, I’ve cried with you. And it’s okay. Sometimes our road to motherhood, wife-hood, starting out is hard. I know sometimes we see photos of Cancun vacations and margaritas on the beach, but it’s not the whole picture.

This past year was the hardest year of my life. It tested the life right out of me. But it also was a blessing in it’s own right. We loved more deeply, appreciated our son post-miscarriage, and realized how tough we really are. I found I can get a job pregnant or post-pregnancy and maintain it. I found my grit, I found my strength. We have a new found appreciation for what we have and a deep sense of gratitude.

It was the hardest year, I never wish to repeat it. But man, we did it.

Cheers!

Photo Credit

Family

Family

This week, we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. We are also celebrating our happy healthy baby and new family. It may seem little but we are super proud of it. It’s been a rough four years. No one tells you when you’re first setting out about how hard it is, how you will not take off into the sunset in a carriage with unlimited resources.

They don’t tell you you’ll struggle after college, that a good job isn’t guaranteed– despite what your “advisor” told you. They don’t say that there are days you won’t “feel” love. They don’t mention that your spouse might end up in a trauma unit, even if he’s perfectly fit. They don’t mention that miscarriages happen to healthy young women. They don’t mention your baby might die in labor, even though your pregnancy was stellar. They don’t mention the bills are real– they come every month and can pile up– especially after a job loss or change.

But they also don’t mention this. When you’ve had a horrible delivery, but you watch your husband hold your son for the first time–decked out in a surgeon cap. They don’t mention how happy you’ll be when you watch your baby sleep or hear him snore. They don’t mention how you’ll hold a new bond–the three of you, and how much love you’ll have. Or even the amazing adventures you’ll go on together, despite life’s imperfections.

Somehow, because of the roughness and the growing pains, these fleeting moments are precious.

 

Family, Growth, Personal Development

For Better Or Worse

Today marks four years of marriage for us. During this time, I’ve learned why the vows are what they say. During this time, I learned the weight of those words. We have had richer and poorer, sickness and health. We’ve felt the better and the worse.

This is going to be brief. But basically my message is this. If you hit moments in your marriage where you question, doubt, don’t know if you’re doing something right, you’re in good company, most of us don’t. But day by day you learn. You learn more about your spouse but mostly yourself. Just like motherhood is new and when you start, you won’t have it figured out, you won’t in a new marriage either.

So today, trust the process, love your spouse and give yourselves permission to not have it all together. None of us truly do; don’t give up.

‘Til death do us part.

Change, Family

Breaking Comfort Zone

Missing my little guy very much.

But this is important.

Tonight we watched the Falls together and took in the beauty. It wasn’t the perfect time. It’s not the perfect of circumstances. It’s last minute (so not me). But here we are.

Normally I’d protest and say I’m too tired to go at night, let’s just chill in the room, read a book, stay in the life-numbing comfort zone. “We’ll go do that next time…” I would always say. But we didn’t wait for next time, we saw the Falls again at night, and fought against the comfort.

Because if we can take one thing away from the recent tragedies of this life, it’s that the perfect day may never come. We get one life. Only one.

Go enjoy your “Falls” at night. The book and comforts will still be there. Fight through and choose to explore.

#noregrets #trendingtruth #onelife

Family, Mom Life

Learning to Let Go

I swore I’d never be “one of those moms”. You know, one of the ones that gets upset when their kids go away or aren’t with her. The one who will have perfect balance instead. I thought I was immune to missing my child. But truth is, none of us are.

So today I pack my baby’s bag for a week to spend with Grandma. It’s great that family wants to help, it’s great that we have some family still around. But yet, it doesn’t feel like a vacation, it doesn’t feel like a “break”. It feels, at least initially, like my heart is ripping out. Because for all the blow-out diapers, for all the food spilled and the sleep lost, I wouldn’t trade in my little guy for anything. His giggles, his farts, the way he snores like an old man when he sleeps, I’ll miss it… for the next week, I’ll miss it. And mamas, that’s okay.

Our day in and day out routines are filled with many things, but it all really revolves around raising these little people. We are responsible for these little humans all the time. It’s a hard switch to turn it off, for me at least, probably you too. It’s a paradox; I want a break, but I want my baby too. But sometimes letting go and getting some time to ourselves, once we cry a bit, is a good thing.

So here’s what I do to make it easier:

  1. We meet during the day so it’s not super heart-wrenching.

I found it really hard to wake my baby in the night to go into a family member’s car and drive away. It felt like someone was taking our baby. I know it wasn’t the case, but it felt that way. So if you have to be away from your little people for work, or so they can see family and you can’t come along, do it during the daylight hours so it feels less gut-churning.

2. We meet in a place that’s not a home, a restaurant or a store.

When we met at our home, it felt like someone was taking him from us, yet again. Meeting somewhere felt like we were going to an outing and would “see him later”.

3. We make plans for the next week so we distract ourselves with being, primarily, a couple again.

Sometimes looking forward to the non-baby activities you can now do, is a great way to distract yourself. We found planning a dinner date, going to the movies or doing something else, really helped us to reconnect and feel less upset.

4. If you’re not ready, it’s okay.

And most importantly, if you’re not ready, you’re just not ready. There’s nothing wrong with wanting your kids around. Or perhaps, they have a shorter trip to visit family. Sometimes, that’s a good way to ease into it. I know there was a time where I really wasn’t ready, but I didn’t want to disappoint family members. But mamas, that’s not okay. It’s you and your baby and your spouse FIRST. The family has to work around you guys. Sometimes that involves using a confrontational word. No. But it’s your new family, your new schedules, your feelings. Ya’ll come first. Listen to your instincts.

Awareness, Family, Female Entrepreneurs, Mom Life, Persevere

Best Days

“Oh, honey… enjoy this. These are the best days of your life.” Falser words could not have come flowing from anyone’s lips than these did when they hit my ears. And yet I heard this, all. the. time. My ears still ring when I think about it. Talk to any new mom, any mom at all, and tell her how awesome new motherhood is, go ahead, I dare ya. Then just watch her face. I promise you, if she’s anything like me, she’ll twitch. And I hear ya, these well meaning folks, they want you to treasure your time and your family. But statements like these, feel about as awkward to me as putting on last years’ bathing suit.

I guess what bothers me most about the sentiment is how dishonest it is. New moms hear a lot of weird garbage if we’re being real, and we are pretty thick skinned. After all, we did go through 9 months of beyond awkwardness and unwanted belly-touching. But to have a place of candor to talk about how weird it all is, really refreshes me and maybe you too. When I think about the truth of new motherhood–I think of massive changes. Every change that could possibly happen, your marriage, your money, your work, your friendships, your body,  your home, your career… it is ALL different. You wonder if you’re doing it right, you wonder if you’re co-workers will think less of you, if you’ll get fired, if your spouse still feels the same way, if you’ll lose those final and stubborn 10 pounds of baby weight… it just keeps going. And all day, every day, there’s a television screen in your mind just swirling with all the changes and things you need to do. And when we tell that same mom who underwent massive changes in such a short period of time, the woman who can’t remember if she brushed her teeth today or who just cleaned up a massive blowout diaper in her car on the way to work, “These are the best days…” no wonder she doesn’t get it — she’s a finalist in the series of Survivor. She’s the zookeeper to the animals– making sure they stay safe and no one throws any poop.12141658_1026342174076669_3828444627179536575_n

So in the spirit of being truthful, tell her something different perhaps. Say something like, “It’s hard to be a new mom–I remember, but it will be worth it,” or maybe, “Is there something I can do to help?” Better yet, ask to get her some coffee. Because when you’re brand new to all of this change, and it hits you like a truck full of bricks, all you really want is to be understood and for some genuine heart-felt help.

Family

Top Things I Learned After Having a Newborn: Infant-Care Myths Destroyed!

So when we decided to have a baby, we figured it would no doubt be a lot of work and a big change. Like any “good” parent would, we went to childcare classes at the hospital. Of course, that should have been a wealth of information, helping new parents to figure out their new bundle of joy. We were in for a real surprise…

Babies will only cry when they need something. Attending to those needs will make them less fussy.

Haha! This couldn’t have been more wrong. I remember the third night being home with my husband and baby and wondering what was going on with our child. We changed him, burped him, fed him, and yet he was wailing. “What haven’t we done??” Greg uttered. And so, we put him in his napper and waited and let him cry. Within ten minutes, he was asleep. It was then we realized, that sometimes babies are just little people and they cry. As long as their needs are met and they are checked on, let them cry and learn to soothe.

-Babies should sleep in the parent’s room for the first few weeks to a month.

This we tried as well the first few nights. We tried a large bassinet. Neither worked. First, we found that our baby really liked feeling cozy and not having room to move around in the bassinet. So we found a napper that vibrates and is about the size of a car seat, which he loved. I also found that having the baby in the same room as us, made me more on edge because any snort, coo or cry, made me turn my head. Today, there are such great baby monitors that have cameras and intercom systems. So we took our boy into his room, have the camera pointed on him. This also made me feel more normal. I’m still able to be with my spouse in the other room and have a healthy separation from our little guy, without compromising his needs.

-The best way to feed your baby, is breastfeeding directly.

Well that’s all fine and dandy, assuming your baby will nurse. Some babies, like mine, didn’t want to and would only take a bottle. So instead, we decided to pump instead rather than continue on a road that wasn’t going to work. I don’t feel like I bond any less with my son because I use a bottle, he bonds with whomever is feeding him. At the hospital you will be pressured to constantly try to breastfeed, but do what works for you and your child. It’s the best that you can do and what works that is best, not what the pushy lacation consultants say, they aren’t the parents of your baby.

-It’s best to stay home with your child for a while, they need their parents at first, all the time.

It’s all about balance and moderation. I admitted to myself after the first week post partum, that I could not stay at home all the time with my baby. I just could not. I needed to work, to get out with my husband, and to feel more human again. There should be no shame nor stigma if a mom wants to work, to get back to her routine or to use help. Having help and others watch my son was what prevented me from losing my mind. Not only is it great for your child’s family because they get to interact with him but it’s good for your child too.

Learn your baby over time, and know that what works for your family and keeps your baby healthy… that’s what’s best.